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British conspiracy theorists setting fire to cell towers out of mistaken belief they cause COVID-19

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On Monday, The New York Times reported that conspiracy theorists in Britain are setting fire to 5G cell towers, out of a paranoid belief these towers are responsible for the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Across Britain, more than 30 acts of arson and vandalism have taken place against wireless towers and other telecom gear this month, according to police reports and a telecom trade group. In roughly 80 other incidents in the country, telecom technicians have been harassed on the job,” wrote Adam Satariano and Davey Alba. “The attacks were fueled by the same cause, government officials said: an internet conspiracy theory that links the spread of the coronavirus to an ultrafast wireless technology known as 5G. Under the false idea, which has gained momentum in Facebook groups, WhatsApp messages and YouTube videos, radio waves sent by 5G technology are causing small changes to people’s bodies that make them succumb to the virus.”

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“The false theory linking 5G to the coronavirus has been especially prominent, amplified by celebrities like John Cusack and Woody Harrelson on social media,” continued the report. “It has also been stoked by a vocal anti-5G contingent, who have urged people to take action against telecom gear to protect themselves.” Cusack and Harrelson have since deleted their tweets, but the conspiracy theory continues to spread.

“The idea has deep internet roots,” said the report. “An analysis by The New York Times found 487 Facebook communities, 84 Instagram accounts, 52 Twitter accounts, and dozens of other posts and videos pushing the conspiracy. The Facebook communities added nearly half a million new followers over the past two weeks. On Instagram, a network of 40 accounts nearly doubled its audience this month to 58,800 followers.”

“After the British government issued shelter-in-place orders on March 23, some conspiracy theorists commented that it was a trick to secretly build 5G masts out of public view,” said the report. “On April 2, in one of the first 5G-coronavirus incidents, telecom equipment in a neighborhood of Belfast in Northern Ireland was set ablaze, according to local officials.”

British politicians have roundly condemned the attacks, and police in several cities are investigating.

You can read more here.

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24 hours of embarrassing incidents culminate in #TrumpIsALaughingStock trending on Twitter

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President Donald Trump has already had a tough week.

It started Monday evening when HBO aired a widely-panned interview with Axios correspondent Jonathan Swan.

Monday morning, Trump appeared entirely unfamiliar with Yosemite National Park.

And then Trump had another one of his lie-filled presidential briefings.

All the fodder circulating resulted in the hashtag for "Trump is a laughing stock" trending on Twitter.

Here's some of what people were saying about the commander-in-chief:

https://twitter.com/jeremynewberger/status/1290833836587311104

https://twitter.com/egheitasean/status/1290768729286963201

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2020 Election

GOP operatives linked to Kayne West’s presidential bid in potential ‘spoiler’ effort: NYT

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There are questions as to whether Kanye West is running a "spoiler" bid for president to help re-elect his friend, Donald Trump, according to a new report by The New York Times.

"At least four people who have been active in Republican politics are linked to Kanye West’s attempt to get on the presidential ballot this year. The connection raises questions about the aims of the entertainer’s effort and whether it is regarded within the G.O.P. as a spoiler campaign that could aid President Trump, even as those close to Mr. West have expressed concerns about his mental health as he enters the political arena," the newspaper reported.

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2020 Election

Kris Kobach ridiculed after losing comeback bid in Kansas: ‘Adios amigo’

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Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the projected loser of the state's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Kobach, a longtime crusader against immigration, headed up President Donald Trump's so-called "voter fraud commission" before it was disbanded after failing to identify any widespread instances of fraud.

Kobach unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018.

Here's some of what people were saying about Kobach's defeat:

https://twitter.com/LokayFOX5/status/1290832478865952768

https://twitter.com/davematt88/status/1290831071462875136

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